$670 000 000 USD

MARCH 2019




"Andrew Forrest is one of the richest men in Australia." "Forrest is the chairman of mining company Fortescue Metals Group, which is based in Western Australia with a market cap of over $45 billion." "Forrest is the former CEO of Fortescue Metals Group. According to Forbes, his net worth is valued at $18.2 billion."


"(ABC News) - Australian entrepreneur and philantropist Andrew Forrest has made a name for himself as a brash straight-talker who doesn’t mind being honest about how he makes his money."


"Last week, he appeared on The Project and announced a new "wealth loophole" which he says can transform anyone into a millionaire within 3-4 months. Forrest urged everyone in Australia to jump on this amazing opportunity before the big banks shut it down for good."


"And sure enough, minutes after the interview was over, National Australia Bank called to stop Forrest's interview from being aired- it was already too late."


"The Project co-host Waleed Aly invited Forrest on the show to share any tips he had on building wealth and the Australian entrepreneur and philantropist dropped a bomb:"


"What's made me successful is jumping into new opportunies quickly- without any hesitation. And right now, my number one money-maker is a new cryptocurrency auto-trading program called Bitcoin Evolution. It's the single biggest opportunity I've seen in my entire lifetime to build a small fortune fast. I urge everyone to check this out before the banks shut it down."


"The Project co-host Waleed AlyWaleed Aly was left in disbelief as Forrest pulled out his phone and showed viewers how much money he's making through this new money-making program that now has everyone in Australia whispering."


"The segment ran out of time before Forrest could elaborate, so we got an exclusive interview with the man himself to learn more about this controversial opportunity."


"You may have heard about this new cryptocurrency investment platform called Bitcoin Evolution that’s helping regular people in Australia, Asia and North America build fortunes overnight. You may be skeptical because it sounds too good to be true."


“I get that because I thought the same thing when a trusted friend told me about it. But after seeing with my own eyes how much money he was making, I had to try it for myself. I'm glad I tried it because it was some of the biggest and easiest money I've ever made. I'm talking tens of thousands of AUD a day on autopilot. it’s literally the fastest way to make a windfall of cash right now. And it’s not going to last for much longer when more and more people find out about it. Or when banks shut it down for good.”


"Bitcoin Evolution lets you profit from all of these cryptocurrencies, even in a bear market. It uses artifical intelligence (AI) to automatically handle long and short selling for you so you can make money around the clock, even while you sleep." "Bitcoin Evolution is backed by some of the smartest tech minds to ever exist. Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Bill Gates just to name a few."


"These tech geniuses have built multi-billion companies on solving complex issues like online payments, computing, and transportation. Now, they’re tackling on the global problem of wealth inequality by letting anyone - no matter how rich or poor they are - make enough money to enjoy a happy and fulfilling life."


"Some people are hesitant to try this because it’s so different. And that’s because the big banks are trying to cover this up! The big banks are actively creating propaganda and calling cryptocurrencies and platform like Bitcoin Evolution a scam. Why? They are worried their corporate profits will shrink once their customers know how to create massive wealth themselves."


"Our senior editors wouldn't let us to publish the interview with Andrew Forrest until we verified that Bitcoin Evolution is a legitimate make-money-from-home opportunity. Our corporate leadership did not want us releasing any information that could potentially cause citizens of Australia to lose their hard-earned money."


"So our editorial team tested Bitcoin Evolution to make sure it actually works like Forrest described. One of our online editors, Zachary Tisdale, volunteered to risk his own money and test out Bitcoin Evolution."


"Victims were offered the opportunity to make fast money on a trading platform with a relatively small entry fee (US$250)." A "slickly produced website claimed to be based in the Caribbean state of St Vincent and the Grenadines, but all contact details were for a United Kingdom number."


"A West Australian woman" from "Bunbury" "who has asked not to be identified, saw advertisements for [the] online trading platform on social media in March [2019]." The platform claimed an "endorsement by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest and [displayed multiple] ABC News articles to [promote] the [platform] on Facebook and LinkedIn."


"The woman said she believed the site was legitimate as the advertisements on Facebook and LinkedIn which included interviews with Mr Forrest claimed to be from reputable news agencies, including the ABC." "Over several months she transferred a total of $670,000, believing it was being invested on her behalf." "The woman found the investment scheme being promoted on Facebook and LinkedIn in March 2019 and said she has since made six payments to bank accounts in Australia and Germany as well as a credit card account."


"This scam was so convincing, it's like watching news on the television," she said.


"If you were to watch the news on the television, you would believe the news on the television, you don't go questioning and calling back the legitimacy of that news."


"[S]he was sent a $2,700 Louis Vuitton handbag as a birthday present" and also "transferred back about $50,000 when she asked for some of her investment to be repaid." "The online trading platform made the woman feel secure about investing by depositing a total of $58,500 in six payments into her bank account when she asked to withdraw some funds from her trading account."


"[W]hen she started asking for [even] more money back, they company suddenly became hard to contact." Investors were "pressured to invest more and more money until the platform shut down and they lost everything." "[N]o genuine Bitcoins were allegedly delivered after customers paid, resulting in financial loss for each victim."


"A search of the website's metadata revealed a service had been purchased to conceal the registrant's details and IP address."


"The woman said she and her husband were not wealthy and losing that much money was a terrible blow."


"When I knew that I had been scammed, I felt terrible. I felt I may not be the person I think I am," she said.


"You blame yourself. I didn't know what my husband would say. But he's a beautiful gentleman … he didn't say for once, 'you've screwed up'. I knew I'd screwed up, but not once did he point it out."


"The website remain[ed] up and running."


"But when she tried to contact authorities to report her loss, she said she hit a "brick wall" and discovered gaps in Australia's ability to deal with large-scale fraud."


"She reported the incident to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the Australian Federal Police's operations monitoring centre, and said she was told to go straight to WA Police."


"But when she drove from the regional WA town where she lives to police headquarters in Perth, she said an officer there did not want to take her report."


"She was told her case had been referred to WA Police's fraud squad and they would be in touch within three days. But eight days later she said she has had no further contact."


"I believe that [scams have] become the cancer within our community, within Australia, and authorities have to collaborate and work together to address this issue," she said.


"If it's rampant, it's happening repeatedly, it's because we're failing to address it in the community and in the system."


"A spokeswoman for WA Police said their online crime division had received a report about the woman's case from the ACSC on the day it was made."


"She said WA Police tracked the money and found it had been transferred to an account registered in the eastern states and the case had been referred to another state police force."


"Consumer Protection Commissioner Penny Lipscombe said scammers were becoming much more sophisticated."


"It's becoming quite common for them to get photographs or other information from celebrities, including high-profile businesspeople like Mr Forrest, and attach that to information they're putting out to lure potential victims."


“In this case the bogus investment scheme used Andrew Forrest’s image and provided links to false news reports of him endorsing the scheme, making the offer look authentic and convincing,” Ms Lipscombe said.


“When considering an investment, make sure the company or broker is the real deal by checking their registrations online and be suspicious of any unsolicited offers you might receive either by phone, email or via social media. ASIC registers investment companies and agents in Australia and regulates the industry here, so do a check on their website to begin with. If the company claims to be overseas, there are usually government regulators in other countries that also have online registers that you can search.”


"A spokeswoman for Andrew Forrest said his office had become aware of the scam in early 2019." "We are doing what we can to try and alert the various social media platforms on which these scams are perpetuated," she said in a statement.


"We have encouraged our staff to report incidents using platform protocols. We have also been engaging with the social media entities at an executive level, in an effort to stop the publication of these scam advertisements and to improve the identification and speed of the reaction to any that are published. We have asked the social media platforms to take more proactive steps to eliminate the scam advertisements utilising the technology available to them. Our negotiations with those entities remain ongoing."


"She said Mr Forrest did not publish information about investments he or his family made, except as required by law, and people should not rely on statements about the Forrest family's investments as being recommendations or endorsements to invest."


"Dr Forrest, the billionaire chairman of iron ore giant Fortescue Metals, publicly appealed to Facebook founder and boss Mark Zuckerberg in [November] 2019 to stop the ads that promoted cryptocurrency scams." "Australian Andrew Forrest published an open letter to Facebook calling for it to remove celebrity-endorsed scams from its platform after one victim was found to have lost $670 000 to a cryptocurrency scam using Mr Forrest’s likeness."


"A spokeswoman from the ABC said there was little that could be done to remove the webpages that purported to be published by the national broadcaster."


"It's near impossible to find out who hosts the websites and attempts at contacting the hosts have been unsuccessful," she said.


"The articles are mainly accessed via Facebook ads so we target the ads in an effort to remove the articles' visibility on the net. When we become aware of an ad, we contact Facebook and have it taken down. We also put out warnings about these scams on social media sites."


"A Facebook spokesman said the company removed adverts found to be violating its policies about false or misleading content." "Facebook has not commented on Forrest’s case specifically, as it was “a potentially active legal matter.” However, it did clarify that, “We don’t want ads seeking to scam people out of money or mislead people on Facebook – they violate our policies and are not good for our community.”"


"He said from January to March [2019] the company disabled 2.19 billion fake accounts and also prevented millions from registering in the first place."


"We're investing heavily in technology like machine learning, computer vision and artificial intelligence to help us quickly find more of these types of scams and remove them from our platform," he said.


"Notably, social media companies find it difficult to filter some ads submitted to them, due to a practice called “cloaking,” described by GeoEdge, an ad-security firm. Simply put, cloaking is a technique used by scammers to show different content to internal ad reviewers and to ad viewers, thus bypassing checks of the type that Forrester would like."


"A spokeswoman for LinkedIn said the company also deleted fraudulent activity as soon as it was detected."


"We recommend our members to connect only with people they know and trust, and take the necessary precautions in online interactions, bearing in mind that there are people who will occasionally misuse the online space," she said in a statement.


"Mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest [in February 2022] launched a criminal case against the social media giant Facebook, alleging it breached anti-money laundering laws by failing to stop criminals using fake advertisements featuring celebrities, including himself, to scam Australians."


"Dr Forrest’s lawsuit, which was seen in summary form by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, claims that Facebook failed to have proper systems or a culture to prevent its site being used to perpetrate the scams that defrauded web users."


“This action is being taken on behalf of those everyday Australians – mums and dads, grans and grandads – who work all their lives to gather their savings and to ensure those savings aren’t swindled away by scammers,” Dr Forrest said in a statement. “I’m acting here for Australians, but this is happening all over the world.”


“I want social media companies to use much more of their vast resources and billions of dollars in annual revenue to protect vulnerable people – the people who are targeted and fall victim to these horrible scams with their hard-earned savings,” he said.


"Forrest’s lawyers said that he has spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” since March 2019 to dissociate himself from this scam. His lawsuit alleges that Facebook “knowingly profits from this cycle of illegal ads”, and that it “breaches anti-money laundering laws,” at least in Australia."


"It is the first time Facebook has faced a criminal charge anywhere in the world, Dr Forrest’s camp believe, and his case uses a rarely-deployed provision in federal law that permits private citizens to bring criminal actions with the assent of the Attorney-General."


"A spokesman for Meta declined to comment on Dr Forrest’s legal action but emphasised that scam ads were banned on Facebook. “We take a multifaceted approach to stop these ads, we work not just to detect and reject the ads themselves but also block advertisers from our services and, in some cases, take court action to enforce our policies,” the spokesman said. “We’re committed to keeping these people off our platform.”"


"The legal proceedings [began] at the end of March." The "initial hearing [was] scheduled for 28 March 2022."

Facebook users were provided with apparent news articles from ABC News, claiming that Andrew Forrest, one of the richest people in Australia, made significant wealth through the Bitcoin Evolution trading platform. The promotion is structured as a news article detailing how ABC journalists supposedly heard about this from Andrew Forrest, then performed an investigation including signing up and participating, and concluded this was a legitimate opportunity. One lady invested over $670,000, convinced as well by the scammers giving her an expensive Louis Vuitton bag for her birthday and allowing her to withdraw $58,500 of "profit". Ultimately there is little recourse for those affected and it's unclear if any of the money has been tracked down. Multiple "Bitcoin Evolution" platforms continue to operate, each of them making similar promises of easy income from AI-based trading bots. There don't appear to be any cases of funds being recovered in any such cases.


Multiple respected blockchain entities exist outside of any oversight, in offshore jurisdictions. This is a situation which is fundamental to the blockchain being a global system, however it has also been increased through regulatory overhead, lack of clarity, and ongoing cost required to establish and maintain regulatory compliance, which often precludes innovative firms from even applying. Many countries that have strong foundations in blockchain technology have leading firms leave the country and establish offshore. At the same time, the general public doesn't understand how any of these regulations work to protect them, and following the stringent advice of sticking to purely regulated products is unlikely to be the norm among seasoned blockchain users.


A framework with transparent and public reports for exchanges and innovative technologies (including a verification of full backing of customer funds) would introduce an expectation of this information existing, and make a ponzi scheme stand out. Most existing audits are revenue-focused and have inadequate information in this regard. (For example, no breakdown of crypto asset liabilities.) When regulations are affordable for small platforms and simple enough for the general public to understand, reputable platforms will be less likely to choose to operate from offshore jurisdictions. Frameworks that maintain power in the hands of platforms, industry, and the community, are less likely to create conflict with innovation. An open-ended and decentralized, community-run insurance fund is one of few structures which could actually step in to assist victims of unregistered ponzis.


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Sources And Further Reading

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